Let’s face it, websites have taken a huge step up within the last couple of years. Sites are becoming faster, changing their looks, and getting equipped with tons of modern technology. We’re already seeing and using a bunch of advanced functionality on eCommerce sites. This is partially due to the fact that user expectations are constantly expanding. Not to mention that ranking a site organically is getting harder in terms of SEO. Therefore, websites need to keep pace to remain competitive. And without a doubt, a lot is, thus, changing in the world of design.
On this page, we’ll share useful recommendations regarding top-notch UX and UI to help your eCommerce store stand out and be able to withstand competition in 2021.
Here are Some Useful UX/UI Tips For Online Retail Sites
1. Mobile Is a Priority: PWAs
The mobile-first approach is the major point to note about properly handled UX\UI of online retail websites. It seems that time is flying at a crazy pace, and people are always doing everything on the run. An increasing number of users are changing their habits towards mobile shopping. That said, they use their tablets and smartphones to buy things online more and more often than they use desktop computers to shop. Statistics show that most users now make orders from a mobile phone or can even begin surfing the site from a desktop but finalize the purchase from a mobile phone.
That’s why you should focus on mobile devices now more than ever. For the owners of online stores, this firstly means making the optimization of the mobile versions of their sites a top priority. In fact, this is one of the major reasons why so many entrepreneurs are investing in PWA development and creating progressive web apps for their eCommerce sites in 2021. In fact, PWAs have already become a great alternative to standard downloadable mobile applications which aren’t used in online retail often. PWAs are the real-deal when it comes to boosting mobile conversions!
In essence, any website should be very quick, perform well, be bug-free, as well as have nice and intuitive element placement. This is twice is relevant for mobile devices since users should be able to navigate the store from a smartphone with ease. If not, chances are that they’ll get impatient or frustrated and leave your store without buying anything. Therefore, your site’s mobile version should use such UI and UX that’s reminiscent of a native application and “copy” its best practices.
For example, this is what the progressive web application of the official Debenhams website looks like on a mobile screen. The store looks like a native application yet works from the browser just like any other site does (no downloads to the device needed)! The header area is limited to only the most important points whereas the site menu is organized in a convenient side-screen format. The font sizes are readable and don’t require unnecessary zooms or movements. Moreover, space is used quite rationally, we see nothing excessive.
Image Source: Debenhams
Plus, did you notice that the category page (on the very left of the screenshot) is organized according to the “one screen equals one action” rule? The thing is that mobile screens are rather small, they don’t allow you to place a lot of information, so it should be portioned in order to direct the user to the action that we expect him to take. Such UX\UI is considered a wonderful choice since the user won’t get confused, and it reduces unnecessary endless scrolling.
The same can be said about choosing in favor of thumb-reachable UX and UI decisions. Since most people use just their thumb to browse a site while holding the device in one hand, the most important elements should be easy to reach, tap, scroll, close, and swipe. This is why many elements are often moved towards the bottom of the screen. Look at the central image of the screenshot, do you see the arrow pointing up? Guess why it’s placed in the bottom right corner. Right, because this is usually where our thumb is when we’re holding a phone. When tapping on this arrow, the user will quickly be taken to the very top of the page (so, no tiring scrolling is needed).
2. Motion Graphics & Animation Design
Different graphic animations are used for ads, banners, tutorials, promos… Well, everything! They are the golden meridian between an image (that might not be enough to show the product from all sides) and video content (which often takes too long and is too unprofitable to create).
Take a look at the screenshot below that was made on the official NARS Cosmetics website. The main banner area of the site is partially occupied by animation (on the right). It displays how lipstick caps are lifted up, revealing various shades of the product. Such item visualization usually draws a lot of curiosity, and upon click on the GIF, the user is taken to the corresponding product page.
Image Source: NARS Cosmetics
3. Creating Product Builders
The third UX\UI point to note for eCommerce websites deals with product customization. It can be beneficial for enhancing your digital marketing strategy too. If the business allows to sell products with modifications or elements of personalization, then designing and implementing a builder tool for the site is a must.
At its core, a product customizer provides users ground for playing around with the item’s look. The tool gives people the chance to select a color, texture, material, etc, resulting in a unique item. Of course, these product variations may cost the customer a bit more, yet the opportunity to have an exclusive thing can be very inspiring.
From the point of view of UI and UX, the builder can be as advanced as you’d like. But, importantly, it should clearly show what changes to the item are made. What is more, you must break down the whole process into steps and intuitively show what the possible options for each changeable element are.
To give an example, below are screenshots of the item builder on the official Nike website. With it, shoppers can change the original look of the shoes to their liking. The shoes take up most of the screen, this is needed to best showcase the changes. What’s really awesome about this specific tool is that the product moves and shows the element at different angles. Sometimes even automatic close-ups and zooms are applied.
Image Source: Nike
Improving the UX of your mobile app and eCommerce website is crucial if you want it to live up to the expectations of your customers. The site should be fast, simple to browse from any device and screen, use catchy attention-grabbing elements (for instance, graphic animation here and there), as well as be fitted with modern technology (such as product constructors). Keep in mind the needs of your users, simplify what you can in terms of navigation, and you’ll already see a big leap in engagement!